Given the high degree of specialisation in badminton, there aren’t many players who can pursue singles and doubles at a competitive level. Canada’s Jason Anthony Ho-Shue is one of the few exceptions, having plied his trade in men’s singles and men’s doubles for over four years now.
Quite impressively, Ho-Shue is well on track to qualify to Tokyo 2020 in both his categories – in the Race to Tokyo standings, he is currently No.22 in men’s singles and No.15 in men’s doubles with Nyl Yakura.
Despite being a regular in both categories through his still-young career, Ho-Shue acknowledges the challenges – mental and physical – that crop up.
“For sure it’s very tiring physically, also the strategy is very different when I play singles and doubles,” Ho-Shue said, during the Indonesia Masters last month. “Sometimes I get mixed up, but I guess going into this tournament I was in the reserves list (in singles) so I wasn’t expecting to play. I guess my mind wasn’t really focussed on singles for this tournament.”
Still only 21, Ho-Shue is Pan Am’s second-highest ranked singles player behind Ygor Coelho (he is just two spots behind, at No.53), while in men’s doubles, he and Yakura hold Pan Am’s top spot at No.35.
For someone who has excelled in doubles for Pan Am (he and Yakura won the Pan Am Games and the Pan Am individual championships last year), Ho-Shue reveals that most of his training is focussed on singles.
“I train around 80 per cent singles and 20 per cent doubles. I just enjoy singles. I enjoy doubles too, it’s just that it’s hard for me to pick one. I have a good chance to qualify for the Olympics for both, so why not do it if I have the chance?
“Nyl does only doubles training. We’re in separate clubs, so we train together maybe once or twice a week.
“At most tournaments I try to play both. But this month (January) there is not really any tournament I can play singles, so I’ve decided that it would be a good idea to try these tournaments for doubles, and if I’m in singles, play that also. But mostly it’s been a lot of tournaments where I can play both, unless they are Super 1000 or 750, then I go for doubles and just sign up for singles.”
Ho-Shue had a busy season last year – playing 23 events in singles and 21 in doubles, besides the Sudirman Cup and Pan Am Mixed Team Championships. Among the highlights in singles were runner-up spots at the Bahrain International and the Yonex/K & D Graphics International Challenge, while in doubles, he and Yakura won the Pan Am Individual Championships and the Pan Am Games.
“Last month I passed Ygor in the (Race to Tokyo) rankings and that gave me a lot of confidence and I’m happy about that,” Ho-Shue says, on his fellow-contenders from Pan Am. “Brian Yang is the closest (fellow-Canadian), but I’m around 4000 points ahead. I’m just trying to focus on myself and my tournaments, not worrying too much about this.”
With the end of qualifying in sight, Ho-Shue acknowledges what it would mean to clinch both spots.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I spent the last four years for this moment so hopefully I can do it.”